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TRANSCULTURAL FRIENDSHIP: OUR POLITICAL FUTURE

Chapter Eleven: The Educating Society

Section 7: Dealing with Developmental Disparities

 

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Among those who have mastered the skills of political friendship, education would be the almost exclusive mode of interaction. What happens when a "friend" deals with a developmental inferior? There will never be a time when such situations do not arise -- even in our pragmatic utopia. There will always be children -- or so I assume. However, children are relatively easy to deal with, using the educational methods discussed in earlier chapters, in part because they accept their temporary inferiority.

 

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The real problem is dealing with developmentally inferior political peers. This may be two citizens -- friend and non-friend; or two nations --friendship and non-friendship; or anything in between. We will focus below on international or intercultural relations, although the principles are generalizable to smaller systems.

 

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We assume that a lesser nation is pursuing a pattern of activities destructive to our interests and those of the world at large. Education would be the first approach. One problem with educating political peers that the respect that facilitates education is lacking. A genius who communicates with an average person is perceived by the latter as a presumptuous average person. Likewise, no nation is going to recognize or admit the developmental superiority of the other.

 

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Borrowing from the previous chapter's discussion of the morality of consequences, the next alternative is to pursue our own more narrowly prioritized interests competitively, with a view of clarifying for the other the need for it to change. This approach will not be effective unless we have the influence and power to compete on the other's level. This is why leadership, even in a friendship, involves mastery of all lower-level leadership abilities.

 

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Our objective at this point is to pursue our own interests competitively enough to make the other want to find a more civilized manner of dealing. Certain precautions are in order. There is no long-range advantage in continuing competitive pressure once the realization of the need to change is made. Furthermore, too much pressure might debilitate the other to the point where progress is less likely. Note that a certain humility is in order -- one must insure against the ethnocentric tendency to assume one's way is better, when, in fact, it may not be. Finally, perhaps the most important caveat, the competitive techniques are not going to work when the other has superior strength and influence.

 

 

 

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Transcultural Friendship: Our Political Future

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The Systems Stage

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Dealing with Developmental Disparities

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